Welcome to El Centro
El Centro’s mission is to provide support for the Latinx/é, Afro-Latinx/é, Chicanx/é, and Hispanic community at Colorado State University and in the Fort Collins community. We do this by encouraging student engagement, academic success, cultural pride, empowerment and volunteer/leadership opportunities. We strive to promote an inclusive environment that focuses on awareness and understanding of the Latinx/e experience.
El Centro has been serving the needs of Latinx/é, Afro-Latinx/é, Chicanx/é, and Hispanic students since 1964. It is energetic, welcoming and inclusive with a staff of students who are excited about Colorado State University. The Center has resources to support personal, social, cultural and academic needs to empower students and promote personal growth. We offer a place for discovering heritage, traditions, cultural awareness and a diverse educational experience.
Students can visit El Centro to relax, socialize, laugh, have dialogue and build life-long memories. With dedication and motivation, we do all we can to assist students to be successful at Colorado State University. El Centro is a family, a “home away from home,” a place that provides a sense of belonging.
Following Abel Amaya's term as the Acting Director of Project GO's Chicano Student Services Program, Lawrence J. Estrada served as the director from its establishment in 1979 to 1989.
In 1987, the Center became El Centro/Hispanic Student Services, emphasizing its Hispanic focus. In 2009, it was renamed El Centro, with Guadalupe Salazar appointed Director.
Dr. Guadalupe Salazar led from 1989 to 2020, focusing on providing strong role models and creating a sense of belonging for students. Many students came to view El Centro as a home away from home.
The Group Advocacy Program became Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS). To signify unity, the seven diversity offices now were represented under the umbrella of SDPS.
During COVID lockdown, Dr. Salazar completes her decades-long tenure at CSU, expressing regret over being unable to celebrate the community's accomplishments in person.
After Salazar's retirement, Dora Frias became director. Frias had been championing the Latinx/e, queer, trans, and undocumented communities at CSU since 2017 and continued to do so as director.
El Centro redesigns its logo and space to be inclusive of the Latinx/e diaspora based on student feedback. The center previously focused only on Chicano/Mexican identity.
Mary Ontiveros, CSU's inaugural VP for Diversity, was honored by renaming the Latinx/e Faculty Staff award after her upon retirement in Spring 2021.
After Frias left, Aaron Escobedo Garmon, former CSU's Key Communities and Community for Excellence member, became El Centro's interim director, pledging to sustain and expand its initiatives.
Meet the dedicated staff at El Centro who are here to support and empower Latinx/e students at CSU. From academic advising to leadership development, our team is committed to helping students succeed.